When I was a kid in the fifth grade, a friend and I were talking about the Y2K freak-out, when everyone thought computers would wreck humanity as the year changed from 1999 to 2000, a new millennium. During the 1999-2000 school year, we both would have been 5-years-old and in kindergarten so, for us, Y2K was really just a collection of bizarre stories from our parents about adults anticipating the worst. My friend told me, "My dad had to go on a plane for a business trip during Y2K. He made sure he took pills to fall asleep, so if the plane crashed and everything went to pieces at midnight, he wouldn't feel a thing." This is ideally how I would like to spend all of my New Year's Eves: asleep at midnight so I don't have to feel a thing.
New Year's Eve is among my least favorite of holidays because staying up late makes me unhappy, binge drinking makes me sick, and the pressure of waiting up for the clock to strike 12 makes me nervous. The concept of time passing and watching years fall into the past used to worry me a lot. For whatever reason, my affinity for idealized nostalgia gets mixed up with me not wanting to let go of prior experiences and previous eras. If I learned anything in 2016, it was to love the present, and to not get swept away with the faded memories of the past or the uncertain events of the future. In 2016, I shredded a lot of my photographs and said "whatever" to my expectations of the days, weeks, and years ahead. Instead of treating New Year's Eve like a major and scary transition from old to new, I cope by thinking of it as another night into day. Sunday feels no different than Saturday.
When I plugged my Instagram handle into the "2016 Best Nine" generator, every photo was from the past three months, and only included Woman in E and my Miss America win. It got me thinking how much I had accomplished in a year that wasn't being included in the generated highlights. My mom went as far as to tell me, "Look how much you've done since you graduated!" which was seven months ago, in May.
A year ago, in January, my band Cinema Hearts played our first show in a real D.C. venue. A month later we released an album, and I was surprised and delighted that so many people liked it. As my university swan song, I put on a rebellious music festival with my friends at school and nominated myself for homecoming queen. Graduating was the least exciting bit of summer, because a month later I got a poem published on NPR and then Cinema Hearts went on our first away-from-home tour. Then August became September and it felt weird to not be in school with my friends, but then I preoccupied myself in the fall and winter with designing a music video, being an art exhibit at the Hirshhorn Musuem, and, icing on the cake, winning a Miss Virginia title, Miss Mountain Laurel.
Just like how I had forgotten this month, in December 2016, that Cinema Hearts' first city show and first album came out about a year go, I never would have expected in January 2016 that I would have a Miss America crown sitting on my bookshelf. I love pretending that I am a fortune-teller, and that I can predict what will happen in the future, but I honestly don't know what's going to happen at all in the coming year of 2017. All I know is that I'm happy to be learning how to be content with the pleasant surprise of uncertainty, and I hope that attitude will be my lucky charm.